Disclaimer 1: This is fanfic. That means I do not own any of it. I just borrow it to play with for a little while and let people see the pathetic results if they really want to.

Disclaimer 2: I'm not making any money from it. It's just for fun.

Disclaimer 3: What isn't borrowed is all made up. None of this is real or most likely at all realistic. Please don't trust any of the information in here. Most likely you know more about whatever I'm writing about than I do.

Disclaimer 4: Attitudes, views and opinions expressed by the characters or in the story are not necessarily those of the author. Even when writing Science Fiction or Fantasy I do not tend to attempt to create perfect/better worlds in which everybody gets a happy end ... or whatever is best for them. Please accept that some characters will have a bad ending or be unhappy.

Disclaimer 5: I intend no insult to anyone. If I offend anyone I'm very sorry. Please understand that it was an accident as I tend to be very clumsy in these things.

Disclaimer 6: If my characters' conversations seem odd or they appear to be talking past each other the latter might occasionally be intentional, but most likely it is an accident and I'm not aware that they are. It's just my bad communication skills.

The wine glass rose from the table, turned around rapidly in the air the reflected candlelight sparkling prettily and then ... the glass disappeared and the wine splashed away in every direction.

"Oh, but I almost had it this time!" Danilo Thann exclaimed as the crowd of young noble women - and some young noble men - dispersed shrieking.

"I've killed men for less than this, you know," Elaith stated wiping the wine off his face. It would be no use to try to get it out of his clothing or hair. He'd have to wash both.

"And women no doubt," Danilo added happily. "But a few drops of wine will do you no harm. I could have made a much worse mistake, really."

"Or you could have made no mistake at all, Spellsinger," Elaith hissed softly enough that nobody was likely to overhear.

Danilo put a warning finger to his lips anyway, but Elaith wasn't done yet. A quick spell ensured that they could not be overheard.

"You could cast a minor cantrip like that in your sleep and we both know it. Why do you persist in playing the fool? This isn't who you are. Don't you think it's time to take off the mask?"

"That's rich coming from one who's putting on a false act to the point he's fooled himself into believing it," Danilo snapped. "At least I know which is the real me. I can take off my mask when it suits me, but here and now it wouldn't serve my purpose. Perhaps it's time you tried to take of yours and see whether you still can."

The argument left Elaith thoroughly puzzled. He was what he was, wasn't he? What did Danilo see in him that had him so convinced that he was acting a part?

Of course he hadn't realised that he was playing a part back on Evermeet when he'd been a captain in the royal guard either. He truly had believed that he was a model elven warrior entitled to all the honour and respect he received as a noble at court ...

... until the day he had inherited the family moonblade and it had torn off the mask to reveal the vile, evil creature he really was. Rejected and dishonoured by the magical sword he'd fled to Waterdeep and built up a new life that openly revealed his true nature.

But Danilo was fascinated by all things elven, he remembered. Of course he wanted his elven friend to be a real, proper elf, no just one merely in body. Yes, that had to be it, Danilo had fooled himself into thinking that the old mask was the real Elaith and the new, real him the mask.

He ought to kill the bard to teach him better, but he had named him elf-friend and no elf had ever so forsaken that sacred pledge.

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